A growing movement of people who believe that laws do not apply to them threatens police and law enforcement around the world, experts and officials say.
So-called sovereign citizens believe they are immune from government rules and in some cases – including recently in Australia and the US – have violently confronted police.
Coronavirus mitigation measures, including mandatory social distancing and mask wearing, may also be fuelling the anti-government conspiracy and spreading its message to a global minority that view the deadly pandemic as a hoax.
Who are ‘sovereign citizens’?
The FBI has described the movement, which lacks any organisational structure, as “domestic terrorism” in the US and calls followers “anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or ‘sovereign’ from the United States”.
The ideology hatched in the 1970s and grew out of Posse Comitatus, a US anti-government group that contained many followers who were anti-Semitic
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